Reason Roundup

FIRST STEP Orders Federal Prisons to Stop Shackling Pregnant Women While They're In Labor: Reason Roundup

Plus: Russian propaganda almost as laughable as U.S. response to it and the "party of the 2nd Amendment" just banned bump stocks.

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Ingram Publishing/Newscom

A modest—and much fought over—win for justice. Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton's attempts to sink a sentencing reform bill by adding toxic amendments has failed. The FIRST STEP Act passed the U.S. Senate yesterday by a vote of 87-12. It passed the House of Representatives last week by a vote of 360-59, with only two Republican representatives voting against.

One of the most overlooked but A+ parts of the FIRST STEP Act is a mandate to stop putting pregnant prisoners in shackles as they give birth. A number of states have also recently moved to put an end to this inhumane practice (though that doesn't always mean that authorities actually follow through).

The centerpiece of FIRST STEP is that it allows the removal of sentencing disparities for cocaine and crack offenses to apply retroactively. The measure would also expand job-training and re-entry programs for federal inmates and require prisoners to be housed within 500 miles of their families when possible.

The FIRST STEP Act is being touted as a major move for criminal justice reform, but that's more a matter of how difficult it is to get any reforms passed than a measure of how far the bill goes.

"In reality, the FIRST STEP Act is large but modest, and filled with numerous exceptions to gain the backing of law enforcement organizations, whose support was critical in gaining Trump's endorsement," explains C.J. Ciaramella. Yet "among some Senate Republicans, though, the bill was radical, and so it seemed somewhat miraculous when McConnell voted to retroactively reduce the sentences of an estimated 3,000 federal inmates serving time for crack cocaine offenses."

The drama, animosity, and long-slog involved in passing even these modest reforms illustrates just how hard it is to get bad laws off the books once they're there, especially when it comes to bad laws labeled as anti-crime, anti-exploitation, or anti-drug measures. And yet so many illiberal progressives forget this when it comes to the creation of new crimes and the ratcheting up of criminal penalties. Confronted with the possibility of unintended consequences and abuse by police and prosecutors, people insist that if the new tactics don't work out, we'll simply fix or repeal the bills behind them. But rallying political momentum around Doing! Something! is always much easier and more popular than getting lawmakers to admit they (or their predecessors) were wrong, since doing so means they risk being tarred as "weak on crime."

FREE MINDS

Russian propaganda almost as laughable as U.S. response to it.

Read Nick Gillespie's excellent take on the topic here.

FREE MARKETS

The "party of the Second Amendment" just banned bump stocks.

QUICK HITS

• Shocker—government shutdown was once again all a big bluff.

• Coinbase will start allowing users to buy cryptocurrency with other cryptocurrencies.

• Paypal shuts down another alternative platform:

• Heads up:

• It's been a very bad year for a lot of media, but Politico is thriving.

• Why does the FDA want to drive kids to smoking?

Playboy's upcoming Freedom of Expression issue will feature Stormy Daniels:

• Trust in media is starting to rise again.

• Will the ceasefire in Yemen work?

• "Foreign influence" prosecutions are up.

NEXT: New York's Public Transit Head Says the Subway Needs $40 Billion to Save it From a Death Spiral

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  1. Shocker?government shutdown was once again all a big bluff.

    The art of getting some hopes up.

    1. Hello.

      Paypal isn’t your pal.

      1. Maybe it’s time to actually code up a PayPal alternative.

        1. PayFriend?

        2. Bitcoin?

        3. I hear Jordan Peterson and Rubin are working on a Patreon alternative.

      2. I’m not your buddy, friend.

        1. I’m not your friend, pal.

  2. Coinbase will start allowing users to buy cryptocurrency with other cryptocurrencies.

    It’s blockchains all the way down.

  3. In Court, Steele Claimed His Dossier Was Meant to Help Hillary Challenge 2016 Election Results
    According to newly unearthed British legal filings, Christopher Steele testified that the DNC/Clinton campaign funneled cash to him to help them “challenge the validity of the outcome” of the 2016 election in the event Hillary Clinton lost. https://t.co/Z7MTRaqBNb pic.twitter.com/sm4i4VaKGF

    ? Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 17, 2018

    1. But are we gonna get 2 years of constant news from CNN, NBC, WaPo, NYT, etc that a British spy tried to influence election 2016?

      1. People like Tony have been saying that because Steele was a spy, it was totally legit for him to be in Russia digging up dirt on…an American Presidential candidate for another Presidential candidate. Nevermind that he’s a former British spy, which apparently makes no difference to that brand of retard. Also nevermind that Hillary Clinton was a private citizen, which begs the question of how an international spy would be reporting to her in the first place, or why an American citizen would be paying them for the service.

    2. Sean Davis is so smart and witty.

    3. The Democrats never filed a challenge, but the fact that it was on the table suggests that the Clinton campaign considered Trump to be a much stronger candidate than they ever let on. It also suggests that Clinton was willing to do whatever it took to secure the presidency.

      Except, you know, campaign among the deplorables in flyover country. GROSS!

      1. Or become a decent person.

        1. Some things are simply impossible, like antigravity.

    4. I wonder if Hillary had this plan in place before Trump was asked about accepting the election results at the debate?

      Hillary made Trump a Pied Piper candidate during the primaries so he would win and she could beat him in the general election. But she knew she needed insurance in case he won.

      1. Hillary is too much of a corrupt person to not have something on the person she is opposing.

        It worked for he and Bill in the past.

  4. Hey, FDA: research “strongly suggests that young people who would otherwise be smoking are vaping instead, which represents a huge improvement in terms of health risks.” #ecigs @reason https://t.co/MSF5LOWXwJ pic.twitter.com/Y342vdqen1
    ? vanessa brown calder (@vanessabcalder) December 18, 2018

    Abstinence or bust.

    1. Amusingly, the left (correctly) points out that absinence isn’t a useful form of birth control for teens yet they believe that it is (incorrectly) a useful form of behavior modification when it comes to smoking.

      Curiouser and curiouser.

  5. “Foreign influence” prosecutions are up.

    Maybe they need a wall.

    1. We’re going to build a big, beautiful firewall… and we’re going to get Google to pay for it.

      1. The Great Firewall !?!

        That should keep out those pesky mongoloids who work in government.

    2. You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.

  6. Britain’s political class could see a revolution like they’ve never seen before,” yellow vests UK warn
    “This is Britain. We are not European. We have never been European. This is our land and we are taking it back. If the political class don’t like it, they will see a revolution like they’ve never seen before.

    “It is time to take up the spirit of Oliver Cromwell, rise up and reclaim what’s rightfully ours.”

    1. Something something 5th of November…

      1. And just because this is Reason, and I’m sure someone might mention it, no I do not want to install a Catholic theocracy.

  7. Elites do not see their fellow citizens in exceptional terms of the affinities of a common language, shared history, or sovereign geography. Instead, they envision themselves as Socratic citizens of the world. They are an international siblinghood with common blue-chip educations, wealth, and long service in the administrative state. The anointed alone “see” and “grasp” what is really going on with the world, and therefore what really needs to be done right now, at all costs, regardless of the opposition from what Hillary wrote off as “all that red in the middle.”
    — Victor Davis Hanson

  8. Trust in media is starting to rise again.

    Time to #ResistHarder

    1. Trust in media is starting to rise again.

      for the left.

    2. Trust in media is starting to rise again.

      Says the media.

      1. What, you don’t trust them to report on your trust of them?

  9. Dem State Senator Behind Social Media Check for NY Gun Sales Tweets ‘Kill Yourself’ to GOP Staffer
    Parker, who last month called for a state law requiring law enforcement to examine social media platforms of individuals trying to purchase firearms, responded by saying, “Kill yourself!” before then deleting his tweet.

  10. Playboy‘s upcoming Freedom of Expression issue will feature Stormy Daniels…

    Stop the presses, everyone! I thought they stopped the presses at Playboy because internet.

    1. The planned Contract Law and NDAs issue was a real loser.

    2. She needs the money to pay Trump.

  11. Why does the FDA want to drive kids to smoking?

    Vaping does not have a massive taxation theft plan in place. Smoking does.

  12. Venezuelans regret gun ban, ‘a declaration of war against an unarmed population’
    “Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight,” Javier Vanegas, 28, a Venezuelan teacher of English now exiled in Ecuador, told Fox News. “The government security forces, at the beginning of this debacle, knew they had no real opposition to their force. Once things were this bad, it was a clear declaration of war against an unarmed population.”

    1. Good thing the Founders realized that fact almost 242 years ago.

      1. Yeah, but tell that to most people on the left and they’ll laugh you out of the room. Ironically, their reasoning basically boils down to American exceptionalism which they decry at every other turn.

    2. It takes fleeing commie rule to appreciate individual liberty.

      1. To be fair, many of the early American colonists were fleeing Monarchies with their oppressive economic, political, and religious policies.

    1. That judge should be impeached immediately. He does not even know that Treason is specified in the Constitution and Flynn would need to have done what is described to be treasonous.

      1. Yep. Maybe some federal judge will declare a mistrial.

    1. one of the more shocking details of the report is that “entertainment and the media” sit at number three on the CDC’s list ranking professions based on rates of suicides.

      So, it’s “entertainment and the media”. You know, like “apples and oranges”.

      1. More like oranges and tangerines since the media is entertainment.

        1. Yeah, but they don’t think they are entertainment. Only their producers know the truth, and a select few ‘journalists’.

    2. Thank you, Trump.

      1. Say what you want about the man but he does get results.

        1. He’s waaaay better than Obama.

          Criminal justice reform is a big deal. Just that alone should shut the TDS twits up.

          1. +100

        2. Everyone gets results. Beyond inviting the inevitable question of “Guess who else got results?”, that’s about as meaningless a statement as is possible to make.

          So … guess who else got results?

          1. The private sector?

          2. Capitalism?

      2. MAGA!

        Make
        American media
        Go suicidal
        Always

        1. MAMGSA? Isn’t that one of those African lyrics from that Michael Jackson song.

          1. When I take liberties with Acronyms, BUCS cracks the whip.

    3. Any ideas on how to get media suicides rates higher?

      1. Moar mean tweets!

      2. Play Internet tough guy?

      3. wait ’til 2020.

        1. …And RBG gets replaced by someone Trump nominates.

    4. You can die from shooting yourself in the foot.

  13. According to the New York Times, these are some “top” posts the Russians used to hack the election. Does any one who is not suffering from Trump hysteria actually believe Russia “hacked” the election with these posts? #RussiaCantMeme pic.twitter.com/5MUy35PW7X
    ? Paul Sacca (@Paul_Sacca) December 19, 2018

    In Facebook, election make Russia hacks.

  14. Will the ceasefire in Yemen work?

    No. Next question.

    1. Weak. Push yourself harder, little camper, you can do it!

      1. Keeping up with all Drumpf’s collusion scandals would require a team of people working around the clock. I’m just one person doing what I can. Plus I now have the additional responsibility of posting links to bad economic news since Palin’s Buttplug, who previously handled that task, has apparently been banned.

        #UnbanPalinsButtplug

    2. Still not a crime

  15. And yet so many illiberal progressives forget this when it comes to the creation of new crimes and the ratcheting up of criminal penalties.

    Prosecutors need to eat, too.

      1. Hi!

    1. “Losing my virginity is really important to me at this time in my life.

      “I have tried to find girls on Tinder, but never had the courage to meet up with them in case it’s not really them in the photo…”

      Then I guess losing your virginity wasn’t that important to you, kid, after all.

    2. Crusty is back! What has Lena Dunham been up into?

      1. Getting fatter?

        1. and dumber?

          and uglier?

    3. Dad said it was the best money spent.

  16. “Mom who couldn’t see dying son due to travel ban gets waiver.”
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world
    /mom-who-couldnt-see-dying-son-
    due-to-travel-ban-gets-waiver/ar-BBR8phe

    Darn Trump.

    1. It’s dying sons all the way down.

    2. I see a George Costanza death certificate scheme on the horizon.

  17. Why do people want to have sex with the Grinch?

    On Twitter people have declared that the Grinch has big dick energy, that he’s thick, and that he’d be good in bed. On Instagram and Tumblr (despite their new bans on sexual content), fans are creating worlds in which the old version of the Grinch impregnates the new version of the Grinch (#grinchcest) or the Grinch performs a rim job.

    Lazy articles quoting social media > all other media.

    1. This sounds like news only to someone who has never been online.

      1. Yeah, that sounds almost pedestrian when you consider there is essentially no bottom to the depths of the internet. And by realizing that the internet is merely a reflection of the human psyche…well if that doesn’t terrify you than I assume you are immune to fear (or get off on it!)

  18. Why does the FDA want to drive kids to smoking?

    The FDA’s mandate is to decrease tobacco use, and since they can deem anything tobacco and then regulate it as tobacco?

    Future FDA memo “Because some chewing gum contains nicotine and is used for smoking cessation, the FDA hereby deems chewing gum a tobacco product. We must stop teen use of tobacco, so from now on only unflavored chewing gum will be permitted in specialty gum stores that only adults may enter. Think of the children that are saved from a life of tobacco addiction who might get started with double-bubble.”

  19. “Foreign influence” prosecutions are up.

    It’s a clever foreign plot to bleed the economy to death.

  20. The “party of the Second Amendment” just banned bump stocks.

    Is that the black thingy that goes up?

    1. Its not when TARP bailouts cause company stocks to temporarily gain on the DOW Jones.

    2. A Second Amendment party… that sounds like a blast!

      1. Exactly! Send us the party agenda bullet points.

  21. Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls: were TLC conservative pioneers?

    “Waterfalls” was a wholesome outfit about sticking to the knows in order to fight against decay. Contrary to modern protest movements in which white liberals compete with race peddlers to see who can be the most SWPL, “Waterfalls” had a message of pride and caution in an era when artists like Foxy Brown were displaying feminist sex-positive messaging.

    While “Ill Na Na” was appealing to the liberty-inclined consumers who wanted to do drugs and have sex in fast cars without getting shoved in the trunk, (quite sensible, yet still Pixar-for-adults) “Waterfalls” managed to be family-friendly without liberal pandering. The song and video for “Waterfalls” stand out as a foundational point of history in a world of critical theory and her various unicorn rides. While TLC was not broadcasting their desire for sex-positivity, they highlighted the protection of their bodies in order to avoid disease.

    1. TLC were never heralded as conservative pioneers, possibly because it’s only among white liberals in which being a sensible person is considered conservative. I’d be hard pressed to find any black nationalists who didn’t understand the tenants of civic nationalism. Kanye West expresses support for Donald Trump and his dragon energy, recognizing a unity among fellow Americans.

      While progressive favorites like Beyonc? have become political activists in the league of Bill Nye and all those pay-to-say leftists, TLC remains virtuous as they signal safety and kindness. Tender Loving Care was CrazySexyCool, but they didn’t need to prove it through being shocking or derivative. They refused to dress modestly, but chose their own styles despite the trends of those idiotic booty shorts. More Camille Paglia than xxxPolyMomma69xxx, TLC held their own in a genre saturated with mindless sex, cars, and bitches.

      TLC was a lot like Mister Rogers in their messaging. Despite an outlook that today would be considered sex-negative, (or maybe even TERF!) the members of TLC wore whatever the hell they wanted to on stage. Take that, Lena Dunham! Let’s all do a toast to ignoring the waterfalls of the future.

      Mind blown.

        1. Prove it, if you’re not…. 2 Proud 2 Beg.

        2. long live Left Eye.

  22. http://www.wsj.com/articles/ov…..1545130115

    Oil prices down 40% since high. It amazes me people are surprised by this. Peak oil is more of a religion at this point.

    1. “Peak oil is more of a religion at this point.”

      Always has been a claim in search of evidence.
      Hubbert was a geologist with zero knowledge of the economics of oil or how humans adapt.

  23. I am in the new issue of Playboy (Winter 2019 Freedom of Expression) that hits newsstands this week. This is such a dream come true?

    Way to really reach for the stars.

  24. By the way….Patreon allows commie groups pimping actual violence though….

    https://bit.ly/2Btizpe

    1. But you’re still allowed to boycott them, right?

      1. If those commie groups ever blow something up or harm someone, can the victims sue Patreon? I would think they could. It seems pretty negligent on Patreon’s part to allow people to raise money for the specific purpose of funding violence.

        Also, knowingly funding terrorism is a pretty serious federal crime. So, the good little SJWs at Patreon who think it is cool to let the Communists raise money for the revolution better hope the communists are not serious and never act on their promises.

        1. If those commie groups ever blow something up or harm someone, can the victims sue Patreon?

          knowingly funding terrorism is a pretty serious federal crime.

          Not sure I see the point of asking a question then answering it.

          1. The second question isn’t an answer to the first. The first question is about civil liability. The second question is pointing out possible criminal liability. Patreon could be guilty of providing material support for terrorism but still not civily liable to the victims of that terrorism. That sounds funny but you can be guilty under the criminal statute even if the terrorist group hasn’t actually harmed anyone. So, if the FBI busted this group for plotting a terrorist attack but before the attack occured, Patreon could be guilty of material support to a terrorist organization but civilily liable to any victims since the attack didn’t actually occur.

            1. Patreon could be guilty of material support to a terrorist organization but civilily liable to any victims since the attack didn’t actually occur.

              That would certainly suck for them.

              1. That is why it seems like a really bad idea to let people raise money for the revolution on their platform. Chances are they are just morons preying on the stupid. Patreon better hope they are because if they are serious and do cause harm, Patreon is in for a world of hurt.

                1. Then maybe they’ll fail and thousands, maybe millions, will get to revel in some smug satisfaction about it.

          2. Apply the standards equally and not arbitrarily.

            If they do that, no one can say boo.

            But they aren’t.

            Hence, we talk about it and even mock it.

    2. Not sure what your points are, mine is to show how stupid this is and utterly counter-productive for Patreon. They’ve put themselves into an impossible position that will end up pleasing no one.

      1. If they’re willing to take the risks then what do you care? If you’re just mocking them, that’s cool.

        1. A bit of both.

          Why should I care? Are you seriously asking this?

          You should be concerned at this sort of behaviour.

          1. You should be concerned at this sort of behaviour.

            Why? I have no issue with companies deciding who they will or won’t serve. Fairness is not necessary.

            1. Ok.

              1. But if I were you, I’d consider the collateral damage this is having on people who have nothing to do with this political purge.

                You’re being myopic.

                1. You’re being myopic.

                  Am I? Or am I just looking at it from a different reference point? Everything starts to look kooky when you take it ad absurdum.

      2. Isn’t Patreon mostly a platform that funds artists? The only way anything on it gets funded is because people go to the site looking for interesting things to fund. If the SJWs who have appearently taken over the company succeed in banning anyone who doesn’t perfectly toe the SJW line, the platform will become pretty driery and unappealling.

        The one constant about leftists is that they destroy any institution or oganization they touch. People on both sides of this issue have this vision of the leftists ruling the internet and controlling all communication and social interaction as a result. I don’t think so. I think they will just succeed in destroying these companies and social media as a whole because the whole thing will become boring and awful causing people to stop using the platforms at all.

  25. Chained Heat!

    1. Orders Federal Prisons to Stop Shackling Pregnant Women While They’re In Labor

      1. where they gonna go?

  26. Obama knew a bumpstock ban was executive overreach, but Trump is doing it. Trying to wrap my head around this. The current administration was duped into this so Congress could avoid the whole discussion and pretend to support the 2nd Amdt. The WH needs better advisors.
    ? Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 19, 2018

    Obama didn’t need to appease gun grabbers.

  27. Principled arguments for Paypal’s and Patreon’s freedom of association is a tough thing. It’s almost like reluctantly sticking up for the free speech rights of someone to engage in hate speech–except, in the case of Paypal and Patreon, it’s as if we were sticking up for the free speech rights of organizations that are devoted to shutting down free speech.

    Being unprincipled might even seem more consistent in this case. If we’re in favor of freedom of association, does that mean Paypal and Patreon should or shouldn’t be free to do this? I guess being principled takes some faith that innovation will prevail. When I was working to rid my life of Google, I found that I had a hard time giving up YouTube. There are now two ongoing YouTube competitors I know of with different strategies that compensate content creators without using advertising.

    The efficiency of PayPal and Patreon should be even easier to replicate by competitors that yet are to make it in prime time. I’ll be using them PayPal and Patreon only reluctantly for the foreseeable future–like I do with Google and Facebook. I can deplatform PayPal and Patreon from my life if I want to, too.

    P.S. I’ve been getting a kick out of using Philo to stream live TV. I miss a channel or two, but so far, I don’t miss them as much as I enjoy knowing that CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, ESPN, et. al. get nothing from me. I’ve deplatformed all their asses, too.

    1. You’re a real new world man.

      1. You’re a wanker.

        1. Maybe you could drop the Serious Sam act for a minute and see it’s not really an insult.

          1. From the person that hates people and hangs around people.

            1. Dante: But you hate people!

              Randall: Yes, but I love gatherings! Isn’t it ironic?

      2. good Rush song.

    2. The problem is the barriers to market entry and the monopoly these platforms seem to have over the services. If there were 20 Patreons, each one deciding it would only fund certain things would not be an issue. There isn’t 20, however, there is one. People can talk all they want about principles and property rights but that rings very hallow if a few corporations end up making it impossible for any disfavored opinions to be promoted on the internet. You are just as unfree if you can’t publish something because Google doesn’t like it as you are if the government doesn’t lke it. The result is the same, assuming there are no market alternatives to Google.

      1. Yeah, but there used to be only one YouTube. There isn’t anything about Patreon’s or Paypal’s operations that are impossible to replicate. It’s just a problem of scale. Amazon tried to come up with a competitor, and last I checked, they still don’t take PayPal (going back to PayPal being owned by competitor EBay), and maybe their solution might stick. The YouTube competitors I was talking about that don’t use advertising basically act like both YouTube and Patreon for content creators.

        The question of collusion to exclude specific content creators is a big question. When you see YouTube, Patreon, PayPal, Twitter, et. al., all go after Mio, for example, at more or less the same time–not for things he’s said or done recently but for past associations with the Proud Boys, or whatever, I find it hard to believe that all these companies came to the same conclusion at the same time without communicating with each other. He’s just one example, but if these companies are behaving like a trust in colluding to block someone’s access to the market, then there may be a problem.

        1. There isn’t anything about Patreon’s or Paypal’s operations that are impossible to replicate. It’s just a problem of scale.

          It is, in fact, not just a problem of scale. The FedGov places significant barriers to entry in the credit card processing and financial sectors.

          If the Feds are going to grant licenses and liability waivers to certain corporations, I’m not sure it’s unreasonable for them to require those corporations to serve all customers.

          Maybe PayPal should have to “bake the cake”, too.

          1. Still sounds like a question of why competitors can’t grow to the same scale. I’ll admit I don’t know what you’re talking about exactly. Please elaborate.

            What regulations are you talking about? This should be fixed!

          2. Exactly.

            Its the financial barriers. Business ideas better than PayPal are a dime a dozen.

            A new business needs capital and easy means for customers to buy what they are selling.

            Paypal still uses bank accounts to pay or receive money. Not everyone can get a bank account.

    3. It’s really pretty simple.

      If you think that private individuals and companies do have a Freedom of Association, including the freedom to refuse customers arbitrarily?, but you think that Google, Paypal, Patreon and so-on shouldn’t have that right, then you think that they shouldn’t be private companies and should be publicly owned.

      This is the “public utility” argument. I’ve seen many self-identified libertarians claim that’s not what they want, but at the same time they do want to limit the power of those companies to exercise their Freedom of Association. It’s not a convincing or stable position.
      ________
      ?Meaning, in this context, that the non-discrimination provisions of the CRA and similar laws, as they apply to private entitites, are illegitimate. As many libertarians argue.

      1. To be fair, Corporations are founded on a Public Trust. The government usually takes that caveat too far.

        LLCs, partnerships, and other non-public companies should have more rights since they also assume more personal and financial liability than public corporations do.

        1. That being said, I am for maximizing business rights to make our trade system as free market as possible.

          Businesses will never have the same amount of rights as citizens. Businesses cannot vote and are not appointed attorneys by the state.

      2. I am fine with that as long as they are not a monopoly or collude to create one and more importantly, if Congress would repeal their immunity from liability for the content that goes on their platform. If they want the freedom to control what goes on their platform in an arbitary way, then they should have to assume the corresponding responsibility of being responsible for everything that is posted on that platform.

        1. What is being described isn’t collusion, but rather it’s a known thing that is indeed illegal known as a cartel. Specifically, if we want to point at an example of a cartel we could simply point at OPEC.

          Sans government intervention, companies like Google would need to better respond to consumer demand but as companies like Google become huge they always entreat the government to protect them and slam the innovation door shut right after they squeeze through it.

          In the case of modern media giants, like Google, there is also the interesting point of view the government has that says they have unlimited access to their networks via a backdoor in order to spy on the people, and it’s illegal for Google to mention that fact. And, for what it’s worth, they are willing to whore themselves out to the government to receive that special market treatment.

          Or, at least, I assume that’s the case since it’s an open secret that the NSA has hard lines that intercept all internet traffic. That would be pretty hard to do if they don’t have them in Google, at this point.

          So, really, how ‘independent’ are these companies? Why, it’s illegal for them to say!

      3. If you think that private individuals and companies do have a Freedom of Association, including the freedom to refuse customers arbitrarily

        I would say that companies and private individuals have a right to freely associate based on the tenets that they set forth.

        In other words, if you say you’re going to do X for someone, in exchange for Y, you don’t get to arbitrarily declare that you no longer have to do X, but that you’re still entitled to Y.

        Which is what these platforms are doing.

  28. Someone posted a link yesterday claiming ~65% of Ds are convinced the Russkis are to blame for the hag’s loss, and here’s why:
    “According to the New York Times, these are some “top” posts the Russians used to hack the election.”

    The party of sciency-sorta-thingies.

  29. require prisoners to be housed within 500 miles of their families when possible

    Despising government for its inherent corrupting nature means it is always fun to think of creative ways of reforming it, since none of them would work (government is inherently corrupt) and none of them have any chance of being implemented.

    What is people had to pay directly for prisons? Of course, taxes pay for them now, but what if it were a direct part of the tax bill so people had no choice but to see it?

    Extend it to everything. What is people got an invoice every year in response to their tax payments, itemizing every last thing their taxes had paid, down to the penny? Of course it would be easy to circumvent the intent by just listing “DoD — $472.55” instead of braking it down further. Suppose there was a web site which let you drill down — enter the taxes you paid, it shows the breakdown by agency. Click DoD, see it by service. Keep on clicking to see all the detail you want.

    Wouldn’t do any good. But it would be interesting.

    1. I like this plan.

    2. It’s a great plan, and there’s a pretty good chance it would work. Why do you think they handle income taxes in such a way that your actual tax liability isn’t transparent to the vast majority of people?

  30. U.S. Military Preparing for a Full Withdrawal of Its Forces From Syria

    Uh-oh! This anti-neocon move AND federal criminal justice reform?

    MAGA!

    1. That is good news.

    2. If President Hillary Clinton announced this move, I’d celebrate. However since it’s occurring under Putin’s Puppet, I have to wonder if we’re only doing it because it’s ultimately in Russia’s interest.

      #StillWithHer

    3. This just proves that Trump is on Putin’s payroll–like everybody from Rachel Maddow to John McCain said!

      There was a post over at the New York Review of Books that quoted one of Trump’s tweets the other day:

      “The pathetic and dishonest Weekly Standard, run by failed prognosticator Bill Kristol (who, like many others, never had a clue), is flat broke and out of business. Too bad. May it rest in peace!”

      —Donald Trump

      http://twitter.com/realdonaldt…..939169282?

      http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2…..me-change/

      Neocons hating Trump doesn’t seem to convince people that Trump isn’t a neocon.

      Trump hating Neocons doesn’t seem to convince people that Trump isn’t a neocon.

      Trump doing the opposite of what neocons would do and want him to do doesn’t convince people that Trump isn’t a neocon.

      Neocons being Never Trumpers because Trump isn’t a neocon doesn’t convince people that Trump isn’t a neocon.

      At some point, we start to suspect that “neocon” is just a pejorative term to throw at people like “shithead”. The term doesn’t mean anything to a lot of people apart from that. A “neocon” in this parlance might mean someone who doesn’t see dropping our pants and grabbing our ankles as their go-to strategy in security policy.

      1. Exactly Ken. The propagandists immediately have started with labeling Trump anything to get their Lefty cause out there.

        I have yet to ever hear what the neocon strategy was for America in Syria. Why is America even there?

        Trump gave the generals almost 2 years to defeat ISIS in Syria and I guess the USA has. The media does not really cover it anymore.

        If Trump does the pullout in Iraq and Afghanistan, he is a hands down winner of best President in 80+ years.

  31. Obama knew a bumpstock ban was executive overreach, but Trump is doing it. Trying to wrap my head around this. The current administration was duped into this so Congress could avoid the whole discussion and pretend to support the 2nd Amdt. The WH needs better advisors.

    ? Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 19, 2018

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is evidence that “the party of the Second Amendment” just banned bump stocks.

    I don’t think Massie is saying that the Republican party would have rubber-stamped the bumpstock ban if it had been submitted to Congress. Isn’t Massie saying that the reason Congress wanted to avoid the whole discussion was so that Republicans could avoid going on the record voting against the bumpstock ban? They probably would have voted against it if they’d had a chance, and the Democrats would have used that vote against them in the next election cycle.

    In terms of Trump inflicting the ban on us unnecessarily, yeah, that’s a bad thing. Compared to Hillary Clinton and the progressive field lining up to challenge Trump in 2020, however, if we get past all the mass shootings since Trump was elected and only suffer a bumpstock ban because of it, then maybe Second Amendment advocates should consider themselves lucky. This isn’t what we would get from Hillary Clinton or Liz Warren.

    1. Compared to Hillary Clinton and the progressive field

      To be sure

  32. Remember when sentencing for crack was begged to be increased by minority communities? It’s ok, they don’t remember either.

    1. Every black child in America was going to be a crack baby by 1990. Crack was destroying communities. It was a plot by the CIA to kill black people. It had to be stopped.

      All that went down the memory hole.

    2. That can’t be true. I learned in college that sentencing disparities between “black drugs” and “white drugs” are entirely the result of SYSTEMIC RACISM and WHITE SUPREMACY.

    1. As a Koch / Reason libertarian, I support pledging billions to other countries ? but not if the goal is to reduce migration. We should be giving billions of dollars to other countries with the goal of increasing migration. Because immigration into the US is an inherently good thing, as any Reason or Cato study will confirm.

      1. Enh, too much. You have to find the proper balance point for Poe’s Law.

        1. No, really, that is the claim that CATO makes and Reason does indeed parrot it.

          Nevermind that they willfully conflate legal and illegal immigration to make their claim that immigrants are inherently better people than American citizens.

    2. If they wanna live in America, maybe we should just take over governance of their countries, and make them colonies. It’d probably be cheaper in the long run.

      I think Guatemala and Honduras would benefit from having access to 2A protections.

      1. Amusingly, this is basically the reasoning behind most of the wars the U.S. has fought over the years. Only now in the ‘modern’ era do people think that the ‘solution’ to that problem is better handled by swarms of immigrants rather than absorbing those countries.

        I won’t be at all surprised when the U.S. starts pushing for war in South America to save all those potential voters from themselves.

        And just to be clear, I’m not saying warlike expansion is a good thing for the U.S. to engage in. It’s just that there isn’t a whole lot of daylight between the NeoCon position on war and the leftist position on open immigration.

  33. i thought Playboy stopped w/the naked ladies. also fuck you, Tom Cotton.

    1. I’m sure that it’s purely coincidence that this ‘transgender lawyer’ showed up to his shop on the day the previous judgement was made.

  34. ‘Like Riding on a Dirt Road’: First Reviews of Elon Musk’s Underground Tunnel Are Disappointing

    Back when the concept was first announced, Musk promised that the Loop would utilize fully autonomous 16-passenger vehicles gliding along at speeds of 150 miles per hour. But the system that was demonstrated last night featured just regular Tesla cars driven manually on an underground one-mile track. And at an underwhelming speed of just 35-50 miles per hour.

  35. Penny Marshall died.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

    We sure didnt have many TV options back then.

  36. >>>Shocker?government shutdown was once again all a big bluff.

    “government shutdown” lie to begin w/ so yeah.

  37. Unrelated to the actual contents of the article, anyone else having a problem where Reason’s CSS is broken?

  38. Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?

    More Lefty fantasies for the end of humanity.

    Saw this garbage linked to NYT rag.

    1. Human extinction would be a tragedy to the one group of mammals that understand the concept of tragedy. Namely, humans.

      I bet these people probably think their emotional support dogs have human rights, too.

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